This weeks introduction See's me visiting Stapley Angling centre to stock up on gear. There is also a piece on a trip recently to Knowsley Safari Park with a few pictures and videos and we finish the introduction with a few pictures of a family that visited my peg during this weeks session on the canal. The fishing this week is a session on the canal but blogged with a difference as i break the session down a little on how it went from hour to hour.
On the the Update..
Disappointing Trip To Stapley Angling Centre....
With the river season right upon us the realisation that i was totally unprepared hit me on Saturday night. The forecast for the Sunday was for warm weather and a nice sunny day so a nice family trip out was the order of the day. The plan was to head to Stapley Angling Centre then a nice hour with the kids on the Farm adjacent and then a nice drive back home with a surprise stop at Snugburrys Ice cream farm.
I have been making the long trip to Stapley Angling Centre two or three times a tear since it was situated back on its old site that included the Garden Centre. When the shop moved location it actually knocked a good number of miles of the trip for me so it was great news and with the move the amount and depth of the tackle seemed to have moved with it. Stapley has always been a place i love going to just because you can walk round at your own leisure and look in depth at tackle before you buy. It was always a place i could guarantee i would get what i wanted for my trips and also have a good look at all the latest tackle.
Around 3 months ago i had a trip down to stapley for some bits and pieces for the rivers and was a little threw then by the lack of items on the shelves for the coarse angling side of things and i left with a few items missing from my shopping list, i thought nothing of it though. The trip this week was a different matter, i had a list that was quite short, bayer perlon line for my hook lengths, greys clip lock bait box, drennan float fish line for my main line and a few stick floats.
Walking in and to the coarse section i quickly picked up my box but i was genuinely shocked at the little amount of tackle on the shelves. The Guru stock was brimming and could not be faulted but every thing else left a lot to be desired. There was one spool of float fish in 2lb breaking strain, no bayer perlon and one solitary stick float in a really light 4 number 4 pattern. I grabbed the bait box and left. Second trip there now where i have not got anywhere near what i wanted so this will be my last unless they have the bank holiday sales on, just not worth the long trip and risk of not getting what you need.
Knowsely Safari Trip....
I like to include as much form my life away form angling as possible in the blog and our yearly trips to Chester Zoo and Knowsley Safari Park offer a great opportunity for this. Wildlife is a huge part of the reason why i love getting out on the bank and going fishing. I of course go fishing to catch fish and admire the beauty of the fish as you get to see them up close but along the path of these journeys i get to also enjoy the other love i have with the outdoors and that's the wildlife.
There is a special offer on at the moment with the park where you only pay £10.00 per car if you go during the week. A sneaky day off was booked and we made our way to the park. I Have to say it was one of the best times we have been as it was quite quiet which meant we could spend a bit of time pulled over without having cars behind you waiting for you to move. These three male lions where really active on the day and amazing to see so close.
The pride in the enclosure where also equally as active and thought nothing of coming right closer to the car!! Although the older heads knew better and just took it easy.
It was a day enjoyed by all and held so many happy memories with close encounters with rhino's, giraffes, camels and of course the adorable sea lions. A great trip that all the family enjoyed including our little girl.
Early Visitors On The Canal
One of the things i love about getting out nice and early in the morning to go fishing is how you get to see things the rest of the world that is still asleep just misses out on. When fishing the river out in the sticks it can be the sight of a fox or a badger scurrying home after a nights feeding or if you are really lucky a barn own. Walking the fields normally in the dark you can always guarantee a halo of bats swooping around your head. All these are part and parcel of my angling life.
Saturday and whilst sat on the quiet and tranquil banks of the Bridgewater Canal i glanced to my left to see a beautiful sight of a pair of swans slowly working their way along the canal with their family of cygnets. There was only me around at this silly hour so the birds made a beeline over to myself and i took the opportunity to down tools and enjoy their company. They stayed around for half an hour before moving on up the canal in search of their early morning breakfast.
After the story a couple of weeks ago about the eggs of another pair being smashed this sight held so much more power. Almost as nature was showing its defiance at these sick beings and saying look at us. The sad part for me about the rivers opening is i generally move away from these waterways and don't see the family growing up week on week but who knows we may cross paths again when the pike season starts.
On to this weeks Fishing...
In Focus Session on the Bridgewater Canal....
3am - Wake up call - The alarm buzzing away in my ear was met with the groggy reacting it gets in the week until the realization set in it was the weekend and time to get out fishing. Amazing how quickly and easily you get out of bed, showered and get a breakfast down you when its time to go fishing compared to a days work.
4.20am - Ready for the Off - The local Canal was my chosen venue so there was no rush at all in getting the gear into the car, These
trips to the canal involve minimal packing with just a seat box, rod holdall and a net bad to put into the car it was all soon in and ready for the off although in typical fashion i got to the end of the road and remembered i had left my bait in the fridge!! I always forget something at least this time i remembered before i got to the bottom of a farmers field.
4.40am - All set!! - As i said it was a local trip for me so in no time at all i was pulled up and unloading the gear from the car. The birds in full song in the bushes behind me and the canal like a plane of glass it was a peaceful and beautiful time to be on the bank.Many people i work with are amazed about my love for peace and quiet as i am quite vocal in work but i really do work and live for these few hours of tranquility on the bank, pure bliss.
4.45am - The Bait Plan - The plan of attack for the session was a simple but i was hoping effective attack fishing Hemp and Castor on two lines. One line would be at the bottom of the inside shelf and the other was at the base of the far bank margin shelf. These areas have been where i have found the better fish in past trips and i was hoping today would be similar. Recent trips had shown the tench had possibly moved on after spawning and nice shoals of roach bream hybrids had shoaled up in their absence. I fed two cad pots of hemp and castor on both lines before starting to fish on the inside shelf line.
5am - Understanding Caster - It normally does not take to long to get the fish biting on the canal and i knew had i fished pinkie or maggot on the lines i would have certainly been into fish a lot earlier than the 15 minutes it took on castor. The size of fish was nothing to shout home about but i knew they would come. Castor is a bait that will pick out the better fish but only when they arrive, you have to see past the early exchanges with these fish, then hope the better fish you expect move in.
5,30am Better fish come - It took a while but eventually the better stamp of bream hybrids moved in, There is no denying though it was hard going and taking a short break i remember replying to a post on the blogs facebook page stating it was slow going.
5.35am visitors - Not long after returning this fish i had the visit from the swans and their family and as mentioned above i spent a good half hour just enjoying having this family so close to me and admiring the beauty of these birds. I firmly believe wildlife knows who hey can trust and there was no spitting or raised feathers at all from the parents and after they left i got back to the fishing.
6.30am - Pike... - Returning to the swim i fed a pit of bait on each line and again settled in on the inside line. The inside line is a weird line on this section of canal as it does seem to die really quickly. Its not a line that sustains a great number of fish and for a long time i have thought that pike are to blame. Again on this session the fish where coming steady and then nothing and then the presence of a pike was confirmed to me, not by a pike attack but a look down at my keep net. All the fish right up in the neck of the net, a sure sign a pike is about.
06.40am - Amazing - Not a touch on the inside line and fish up in the keep net i shipped out over my far bank line and instantly i was back into fish again. Bringing the fish in over the top i expected a swirl at any minute. The attack never did come all session but the pike was there for sure. The far bank line had been rested for some time and the bites where steady on this line. Not a bite a chuck but steady bites.
8am - switching lines - The sun coming onto the water made the bites go really finicky and i spent the next hour moving form line to line picking up fish before moving over to the next one. This rinse and repeat saw me putting a few fish together and the odd better skimmer. At this point i was expecting a big bream or tench to show every time to float went under as the swims where building up a nice bed of bait.
8.30am - Wind Wind Wind - The wind had been steadily building from around 7am, the odd ripple at first and then it had slowly built to a right hoolie. The far shelf line was producing the better stamp of fish but it was getting almost impossible to fish this line as each gust made it impossible to hold the pole against the wind without risking it snapping.
9.15am - Tough - The ever increasing wind which was swirling in all directions made presentation on the far bank line a real battle. when the wind dropped the bite was instant but during the gusts it was hard work. It made the fishing a chore and not enjoyable and in fact had me looking at the clock to see how close to 10am and wrapping up time it was.
10am - Great little Chat - Around 10am i had two anglers arrive at my peg both getting ready to start fishing. These anglers where regulars on this stretch and it was great to share experiences with two anglers who fish here on a regular basis. Our results had been similar barring a few differences and it was great to learn and share some information with two like minded anglers.
10.30am - Packing up time - The time came to pack in and see how much i had caught. The net went just under 13lb of mainly bream and hybrids. I had planned to write this one blog like this before i fished the session and i must admit it was a session where i picked up bites here and bites there which left the session with little structure to work on. A bit of me wishes i had done this with the previous sessions where i moved lines and stayed on the final far out line. I guess that is fishing though.
This weekend marks the last session before the opening of the river season so i am hoping to get out on Sunday for one more crack on the canal or local pond. One day will be spent though sorting my gear out and giving it all a good clean and sort out ready for the season ahead.
To all the anglers out there venturing onto the banks of the river in the coming week its a huge tight lines and stay safe out there.